Who Is Doing The Abusing…The Church or the Court?

09 Black_0Today I had the privilege of hearing thoughts from the Honorable Judge Timothy Black.  Judge Black is a United States Federal Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  The Judge is also a graduate of the Salmon P. Chase College of Law where I currently attend.  He was “[n]ominated by Barack Obama on December 24, 2009, to a seat vacated by Sandra S. Beckwith. Confirmed by the Senate on May 11, 2010, and received commission on May 13, 2010” [1]

Judge Black was interesting to listen to and spoke about his desire to help Chase students. I think he genuinely has a desire to help students who are where he was 30 years ago.  He said a few things today that I thought were good and a few things I didn’t like but was none-the-less challenged by, here are a few of the things I wrote down that I thought were significant:

“The appropriate response to false speech is true speech.”

This was a quote from the Judge as he discussed a case decided last month in which the Ohio Elections Commission, a group appointed to determine the truth of political statements.  Judge Black ruled on that case and ruled that a law that allowed the government to regulate political falsehoods was unconstitutional.  A great decision in my opinion and one I applaud him for.  When the government begins to tell the people what truth is and what we can and cannot say will be a dark day indeed. (Read more about that…)

“In a state that elects judges the only thing that will keep you [Chase students] from becoming a judge is not…having the get up and go to do it.”

 

Judge Black encouraged many of us to strive to be judges.  He said we should absolutely make it one of our goals because we have an opportunity to make a difference.  I agree.  In the same light he encouraged us to:

“…be active in the charitable community…”

 

However, the rest of the Judge’s time was spent on a leftist political rant, in my opinion, of which I initially did not want to hear.  However, as I listened to him I realized I need to hear people like him.  I need to hear from people like Judge Black and be pushed and challenged.  I can’t say I want to engage people who do not believe as I do and then scoff at the opportunities to do just that!  So, I listened and listened closely.  Here are some of the other things the Judge said that I wrote down:

“Ohio’s vote to not recognize same-sex marriage comes out of animus, that’s a nice word, it means the same thing as hatred…”

 

Whoa, wait what?

People who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman believe that out of hatred?

Wait, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so is he saying I hate people?

Yes.  Yes he was.  The Judge, as you might expect, was the judge who ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.  And he was adamant that those who might believe otherwise were fools.  He said he was very proud of this ruling.

 

 

You know what struck me the most about this? That this judge, who was not homosexual, thinks that I, as an evangelical Christian, who believes that marriage is only between a man and a woman actually HATE people who are homosexuals. It made me really think…have we been so focused on pushing our “Christian” agenda that we have forgotten to love in the process? I am quick to speak the truth and say what I believe, but have I done it out of love or am I just another “sign-toting-picketer” who has failed to gain an audience with those who believe differently than I do? And if that is the case, can I ever expect those who are different from me to respect me and my beliefs? How can I share with people when they won’t listen? Maybe its because I don’t listen either!  Do I publicly “yell and scream” (sometime figuratively and sometime literally) when their “beliefs” are expressed and then expect that they would sit and listen to me share what I believe is truth?

I couldn’t help but wonder why I was so quick to immediately label this guy as “one of those activist liberal judges,” and I believe he is (so does he by the way!)…and yet I see so many fellow believers doing the same thing…”yelling and screaming” for the U.S. Government to declare us right and everyone else wrong.  Now let me be clear, I do think that those who hold to traditional evangelical, and more importantly Biblical, beliefs  are right, I wouldn’t be one if I didn’t!  But why do we expect any government to uphold those same beliefs?  I know the whole, “we were founded as a Christian nation” argument, but even so, is your faith in a government?

I do have a LOT of concerns about the power the Federal Government has and continues to get…I don’t like it!  I have concerns about the Federal Court pushing an agenda and abusing its power.  I will fight against it as I believe the states have surrendered far to much power and done little to protect the form of government that has made America great.  But part of what has made America great is freedom!  Freedom to believe without government interference.  Along the same lines I believe Christians can and should voice their opinions just like everyone else.  But we need to ask ourselves if we are voicing them with love and concern for others or in order to simply win the political and judicial battles of our day.  Are we voicing them to win fights or win hearts?

We as Christians have to stop and look around and ask ourselves, are we as guilty of abuse and those who sit on the benches of the federal courts?

 


[1]http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/nGetInfo?jid=3259&cid=999&ctype=na&instate=na

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